The Many Deaths of the Black Company Paperback – Jan 5 2010
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“Cook's talent for combining gritty realism and high fantasy provides a singular edge.” ―Library Journal on Water Sleeps
“Cook provides a rich world of assorted races, cultures, and religions; his characters combine the mythic or exotic with the realistic, engaging in absorbing alliances, enmities, and double-crosses.” ―Publishers Weekly on Bleak Seasons
About the Author
GLEN COOK lives in St. Louis, Missouri.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Sleepy's chronicles are well done and interesting. In large part because Sleepy is an interesting character with a keen tactical mind. That makes for good reading. Some of the old cast (Goblin, One-Eye) are still around, but it's really Sleepy who runs the show along with Murgen's wife. In the second book, Croaker returns with Lady and the two of them set out to return to Taglios and set things straight with old foes. Ultimately though, Kina keeps rearing her (literally) ugly head, forcing Croaker and Lady to make some tough decisions. This second half of the book is full of some interesting moments, but it's also rushed in places (particularly as it goes on) and suffers from some heavy-fisted plot manipulations to make everything fall into place. But things do eventually fall into place, leaving me a satisfied reader after well over 2,000 pages of the entire series of the Black Company.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Many Deaths of the Black Company is an omnibus containing reprints of the second half of the Glittering Stone saga, a four book series continuing the tale of the Black Company, which was first published between 1996 and 2000. If you have not read the original Black Company series, the characters and plot may prove overwhelming. I recommend you start with the first novel, Chronicles of the Black Company. You will not be disappointed.
"Water Sleeps" and "Soldiers Live" are the books contained within The Many Deaths of the Black Company. They conclude a series which has been nearly two decades in the making. While initially published to little fanfair, The Black Company is now viewed as a revolutionizing force within Fantasy literature. His works are known for their mature and realistic setting, epic scope, military focus, morbid humor and gritty prose.
The original editions of these two books are now extremely rare and regularly sell for 30+ dollars each. This is their first republication in the modern era, get them while you can. Rumors abound that Glen Cook plans a return for the Black Company but these books have yet to materialize. Until then: Here ends the annals of The Black Company.
Glen Cook's Black Company novels are meaner than a basket full of rattlesnakes and tougher than old boot leather. It's a dark world full of evil sorcerers, all of whom fear the men of the Black Company. They are a band of veteran mercenaries for whom kicking ass and taking names are all in a day's work, and impossible missions just another nut to crack. This is down to earth epic fantasy that trudges through the mud and the blood.
The Many Deaths of the Black Company is the fourth of four omnibus editions. If you haven't read any of these books yet, start with The Chronicles of the Black Company, and then the Books of the South and The Return of the Black Company. Many Deaths contains the novels Water Sleeps and Soldiers Live, the last two books that wrap up the series (although Cook stated in a 2006 interview that he has two more unpublished ones, A Pitiless Rain and Port of Shadows). You will have much more enjoyment starting from the beginning.
Observant readers may sense a lack of continuity between stories. This is intentional. The idea is that the Annals have been added to by a variety of writers, (Croaker, Murgen, Lady, Sleepy and Croaker again, then the twins) and that each has is their own perspective, style and ax to grind. Of course, whichever one you are reading avows their own lack of bias, but that's part of the fun. You get a real feel for the individual characters as they tell the Company's story their own way.
Another idea behind the story line is that the company lives on though members die and employers betray, even though one raggedy old former captain has managed to hang on. Well imagined and amazing, though not designed for those who need fairy tale endings. All does not always end well, but we survive. Croaker's apotheosis at the end leads you to wonder about some mysteries in Bleak Seasons and She is the Darkness, but any sort of certainty would spoil the effect of the Company slipping into legend as it recrosses the Plain.
More than your ordinary slash and burn military fiction, Cook through Sleepy and Croaker takes the reader on a journey that is in places fun, exciting, amusing, tragic, and compelling while dealing with the harshness of military life in a world where everyone else is the enemy. It is always worth rereading.